War

We Will Still Be Paying for Iraq in 100 Years

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John T Pilot / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

According to a study by the Brown University-affiliated Watson Institute, the war in Iraq, which former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said would last less than six months, may cost over $6 trillion over the next 40 years. Taxpayers will not be off the hook after 40 years, however.

According to an Associated Press investigation into disability and survivor benefits, we are still paying for conflicts dating back to the Civil War.

Here's what some historic wars are costing us, according to the AP:

  • The daughter of a Civil War veteran receives $876 a year. The second-to-last Civil War beneficiary died last year.
  • The Spanish-American War (1898) costs taxpayers a total of $50,000 annually for 10 beneficiaries.
  • World War I-related benefits for 2,289 recipients add up to $20 million a year.
  • Compensation linked to World War II peaked in 1991 and now totals $5 billion a year.
  • Benefits for Korean War vets and their families come in at $2.8 billion a year and appear to be leveling out.
  • Benefits tied to Vietnam are still rising annually—$22 billion a year at last count.

Benefits for veterans of the first Iraq war, the war in Afghanistan, and the second Iraq war cost $12 billion annually—not including medical care—and the cost is rising. Some 45 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have applied for disability benefits. 

These figures come from four compensation programs that identify recipients by war. Other expenditures—such as the budgets of the 1,700 facilities the Department of Veterans Affairs operates across the country—are not easily broken down by conflict and are thus not included in the tally.

Just a little something to consider next time we decide to start a quick war.

NEXT: Stimulus, Obamacare, & The New Republic: May 2013 Reason Magazine Preview with Matt Welch and Kennedy

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  1. There will be no more boots on the ground wars for the United States for quite some time. Mock my words. I mean, mark my words.

    1. Is not having ground troops involved somehow better?

      Oh, and consider your words mocked.

      1. It’s better for the ground troops, anyway.

        1. Don’t drone pilots have their boots firmly on the ground?

          *runs away*

    2. Instead we’ll pay benefits for drone operators until they die.

  2. Can this be the “NO FUCKING BASKETBALL” weekend link?

    1. +1 slam dunk

    2. Huzzah!

      I don’t mind a bit of sports talk, but dang, between football and basketball this might as well be an ESPN forum.

      And sports talk allows people to connect without having to go through the trouble of thinking about anything too hard. Most of the posts are, “Did you see that?”, and “So-an-so is looking good/bad this year.”

      Even better are the “Hey that young athletic guy with millions of dollars has a hot girlfriend” post. No shit, Einstein.

      Sorry if I offended any of y’all as I think mostly everybody here is good people, but I had to get that off my chest.

      1. I never understood spectator sports. I don’t get how someone can form an emotional attachment to an organization they have absolutely no control over. Seems like an incredibly inane activity.

        Of, course I’ll spend hours on-line arguing politics with people I don’t know…

        1. Sports is a much better use of TEAM instincts than politics.

          If all the TEAM RED and TEAM BLUE people would attach that passion to some basketball team, the world would be a much better place.

          1. Perhaps, but basketball would cease to exist as we know it. Games would have all the bureaucratic box-ticking excitement of a GAO audit.

            1. So basically, it would be like watching the NBA.

        2. Like I said, I don’t mind a bit of sports talk, but I have more than a few people I know that one mention of sports and an hour later your getting a soliloquy on Tiger Woods’ marriage, or a rant on NASCAR’s media relations, or an in-depth analysis of why LA’s field hockey team won’t make the playoffs this year, or play-by-play reenactments of the Steeler’s 1979 Superbowl win,etc.

          For the novice it can devolve really quickly.

          1. LA has a field hockey team? I thought that was mostly an east coast sport.

          2. “or play-by-play reenactments of the Steeler’s 1979 Superbowl win,etc.”

            Did I mention I almost hit par on the 7th? See my tee shot went a little…..

        3. I remember when the SF Giants traded away Willie Mays and Willie McCovey when I was a kid — I think that was when I first realized that loyalty to any business is nonsense. Loyalty to coaches or players, ok. Teams? Notsomuch.

          Also don’t understand spectating instead of participating, and when you combine the two, it just makes no sense to me.

      2. The Pittsburgh Penguins are verging on a dozen in a row. Dismiss that as trivial.

        1. “Dismiss that as trivial.”
          Yawwwwn!
          OK?

        2. He said no sports talk, so bringing up the Penguins is still acceptable.

          And I’m sorry if I’ve personally corrupted a couple of threads with sports talk. Seriously.

          1. I’m just ranting. I like how the threads here evolve organically and shouldn’t be surprised that everyone of them doesn’t fall into my category of interesting. I’m sure there are people here that skip over some of the threads of endless firearm minutia that occurs from time to time.

            If Reason was smart, they’d have a dedicated sports thread for the weekend, fill that fucker with ad space until it was bursting and let people go nuts. I could see Postrel* pulling something like that off…

            *it’s early but the rules are the rules

            1. I’m heading out to the bar now to watch basketball. All I needed was an excuse. Thanks General. 😉

            2. Weizenbock.

              The rules are the rules.

        3. A dozen what? Penguins?

    3. “Can this be the “NO FUCKING BASKETBALL” weekend link?”
      Only one?! Shit!

    4. It’s not so much that it’s sports, it’s that it’s kids’ sports and metric football. I really wonder if these dweebs bet on Little League while they’re at it.

      1. +1 for calling it metric football.

  3. Good job not mentioning, you know, that person’s name who can’t be mentioned here.

    But “Rumsfeld” will do.

    1. Voldemort?

    2. Hitler?

    3. FDR?

    4. You’re still on about this shit? The only reason people mock you is because you always bring up Bush to deflect criticism from Dear Leader. Fuck, you’re stupid.

      1. It’s not the only reason.

        1. True. I had to mock him last night because he thought fouls in basketball were stupid and gave an advantage to “thugs”.

          1. Don’t forget the pee-smell.

            1. And thinking we all listen to conservative radio and acting like the Democrats are our last, best hope against creeping theocracy.

              1. Yeah, don’t forget christfag…

                1. He’s a classical liberal, dontcha know.

                  1. Fucker scored a 92 on his personal libertarian test. A 92 fer chrissakes.

                    1. Oh yeah, something something libertarian purity test.

                  2. Okay, I think we’re done. We’ve summarized everything Shrike has said since 2008 at least.

                  1. Something something ratfuckers.

              2. The sad thing is during the Bush years I thought that was as bad as it could get. I also thought there was some creeping theocratic tendencies in our political sphere, which wasn’t entirely untrue. We also had a complicit media, especially leading up to the Iraqi war.

                The Obama administration has shown me how bad it can really get. We’re seeing a group of people that have their own version of theocracy where their neo-puritanism is channeled into worship of the state and a media that has moved beyond being merely complicit to being active advocates of the administration.

                If the trend continues, we are in for some serious shit.

                1. The sad thing is during the Bush years I thought that was as bad as it could get.

                  Shriek will read this comment and believe you’re a Bushpig.

                2. I guess that until the end of the G.W. Bush administration, General B. N. had not read any history or spoken to anyone alive between 1900 and 1950.

        2. Well, it’s the only reason we mock him when he mentions Bush.

    5. Rumpelstiltskin?

      Why would they mention Bush, shrike? It really doesn’t add any info to the article, and mentioning that Rumsfeld quote lets us know we were lied to.

      Maybe you or the low-info leeches you hang around with don’t know who Donald Rumsfeld is/was but most Reason readers do, making a Bush reference redundant.

  4. the war in Iraq, which former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said would last less than six months,

    The “war” was over in two weeks. It’s the occupations that get pricey.

    1. Francisco nails it. It’s always the occupations that get pricey. Check out the long run costs to the Romans and the British.

  5. What do you do if you have a report of an armed intruder on campus?

    see photo

    You flood the area with panic-stricken trigger happy armed intruders.

    But the badges make everything okay.

    1. Being Arizona, I’m sure after the campus was secured, the cops then took the time to check each student’s immigration status.

      1. …”the cops then took the time to check each student’s immigration status.”
        And shoot random dogs.

      2. Not in Tucson Mulaato. That would probably happen at ASU in Tempe

    2. What I little could find regarding Arizona’s gun-free zone laws appears to be what PA has:

      If you have an otherwise legal firearm on a property that doesn’t allow guns they may ask you to leave, and if you don’t leave you can be charged with defiant trespass.

      In other words, they sent out a bunch of armed goons to deal with someone who may eventually be trespassing. Wow.

      I think it was someone open-carrying (common in Arizona) who accidentally walked on campus in a peaceful manner then left; thereby causing much bed-wetting, hysteria, and pearl clutching. Or some student taking his airsoft/paintball equipment to his car.

      1. A call came in to 911 at 4:52 Friday reporting a man on campus “carrying a rifle and with a gun strapped to his chest,” Bermudez said. The caller also said a shooting had occurred in the Administration Building and asked where the police were.

        Or the next iteration of the bomb threat routine.

        1. SWATting has made it to Arizona, I see.

    3. At least the two cops pictured didn’t have their fingers on the trigger.

      1. NO, but the arsehole with the “patrol rifle” is resting it on the magazine.

    4. Did the 911 call go like this:

      911 Dispatch: 911 please state the nature of your call.

      Caller: There…is…a…person…with… a…a…a…gun…in the…Admin…building…

      911 Dispatch: What do they look like?

      Caller (to someone else): They…want…a…de… scrip…tion…Mark

      Background of caller: [muffled]

      Caller: Ma’am…I…heard…a…shot…fired…too

      Caller: OK…please…hurry.

      Caller (to someone else):It…worked…Mark

      [call ended]

      1. Hint: the caller was Gabby Giffords.

        None of you fucks has a sense of humor.

  6. Benefits tied to Vietnam are still rising annually?$22 billion a year at last count.

    But I have been told those visits to the VA are FREE!

    FREEFREEFREE!

  7. Ok, now answer me one question; This makes Iraq different from any other war in history, how exactly? Wars are expensive (though not as expensive as not fighting when you should), and that expense tends to stretch out. We are still paying various prices for the Civil War.

    Yes, in an ideal world Bush would have waged a covert war targeted solely on people actually connected with the 9/11 attacks. It would have had to be a secret, which would have enraged the public because he “wasn’t doing anything”. It would also have gotten him impeached by the Democrats. So, instead Bush waged a limited war for limited goals, one of which was dealing with the indisputable fact that Saddam had never met the terms of surrender for the First Gulf War, and was consequently technically already at war with us.

    1. So Letters of Marque and putting hefty bounties on the head of every involved AQ figure wouldn’t have been enough? Especially after we brought the captured ones here, put them on trial on national TV and executed them in an appropriate manner?

      Bush would have been revered for that, and we could have maintained the moral high ground.

      1. “So Letters of Marque and putting hefty bounties on the head of every involved AQ figure wouldn’t have been enough?”

        But that might mean someone would assassinate Bin Laden rather than bring him to justice!
        Instead of, well…..

      2. If you think that was politically possible at the time, I have to say your memories and mine differ considerably. It’s like the Rightwing nitwits who maintain that all of FDRs depression programs were ineffective and he should have just let the crash abate naturally; there may be some theoretical merit in the idea from an Economist’s POV, but it ignores the history of the situation.

    2. I personally believe Bush had an unstated goal in Iraq. I think, he thought if he could set up a functioning democracy in the middle east that it would flourish and spread throughout the region. And he had an opportunity to be the man who brought “peace to the middle east”. You would NEVER be able to sell such a plan politically, so he never stated it publicly.

      His downfall is/was believing inside every Iraqi was an American trying to get out. Before you can set up a democracy, the people must actually want one. Hence the 10 year slog.

      Who knows, it might still come to fruition in years to come. If it does, will it have been worth it? I don’t see how it was any of our business from the start.

      1. See, I think this would have been a winning strategy. You go to the American people and say, “Saddam is a bad guy. He murdered tens of thousands of his own people and refuses to let weapons inspectors in. We want to liberate the Iraqi people so they can have a chance at liberty. We would like Saddam to step aside or we will come in and enforce the UN-authorized policies. Once out of power, we will do what we can to foster freedom for all Iraqis, whether they are men, women, Sunni, Shia or Kurd. And then we remove our military and help in developing free markets for the Iraqi people that Saddam denied them”

        It would have been a winner here, there and everywhere else in the world except those where AQ has a role in government. And it likely would have spilled over organically into Iran. Bush would have been a hero and we would have saved untold billions.

        1. Except the factions within the country could care less about a democracy. Their only desire is to rule. So they fight. Us and each other.

          Also, I don’t think the American people would have crawled on board if the stated goal was nation building.

          Also, fried chicken.

          1. I know an Iraqi guy that did raids with the marines as a translator/cultural assistant. He did 150 raids unarmed, was shot in the head, and received an accommodation for uncovering bureaucratic corruption; his reward was that he could no longer live in Iraq too long without being targeted so was offered citizenship to start a new life in America.

            Anyways…

            I would talk to him about Iraq a lot and he had some real insight into what was going on there. His take was most of people that were happy that Saddam was gone were happy because they saw an opportunity to fill the power vacuum; this group didn’t like Saddam’s (relatively) secular dictatorship and want to install a religious dictatorship with them in charge (of course).

            The people angry that Saddam was gone were those that had the power before, and foreign jihadists that have found a war they can kill Americans in. The christian/minority populations are mostly fearful that they are going to go from getting fucked with lube under Saddam to a lubeless torture under their new masters.

            For sloopy:

            You’ll love this. In the few years he’s been in pittsburgh he’s been fucked with a few times by yinzer cops who give him the “you’re not from around here, is you?” treatment when they find out he’s from Iraq. Like he’s some sort of al queda assassin.

            1. Thanks for that insight. My brother in law basically has the same take (he’s an MP Major who oversaw training of the Iraqi police forces in a couple of provinces a few years ago and is now back in-country as the liaison for the US with the Iraqi police.

              I still can’t help but think that once they were given a chance, we should have packed our shit and left completely, giving Iraqi people an opportunity to do business with US companies. They would have either taken it or they wouldn’t have, but once we got through the initial steps, we had no business being there.

              SLD applies, of course. We never, ever should have put one foot in Iraq the first or second time. Kuwait had enough money they could have hired mercenaries to rid their nation of Saddam’s soldiers. And the Kurds could have gotten Turkey involved if they needed help.

            2. GBN

              It’s awesome that you’ve had an opportunity to get insight about what’s really going on over there (or was). You rarely get that type of window to the situation unless you are in the middle of it.

              Wouldn’t it be nice if the media actually investigated and then reported on WHY things are not going as planned so voters could make informed decisions based upon reality, rather than just the sensationalized crap that drives their agenda?

              1. Yeah, if journalists were interested in doing their jobs, they’d be interviewing that guy instead of some washington “adviser” whose salary depends on a rosy picture of Iraq.

            3. So he was a traitor to his people and we bring him over here. No wonder the country is in such sad shape.

              1. Ummm, no.

                He was helping catch people, often foreign jihadists, that wanted to blow his people up. He also uncovered corrupt people stealing supplies that were supposed to go to the rebuilding of his country.

                But you’re a cowardly, racist piece of dog shit so I wouldn’t expect you to understand that.

              2. You really are a collectivist shithead.

        2. It would have been a winner here, there and everywhere else in the world except those where AQ has a role in government.

          Not everywhere. Gerhard Schr?der was on his way to losing the 2002 German election and used a lot of xenophobia — both anti-American and anti-Bavarian since his opponent was Bavarian — to try to win votes. He would have run on a “we don’t want to be like America” platform in any case.

          1. So what would he have done? Said, “we stand with Saddam and the oppressive Iraqi regime”? I fail to see how that’s a winning platform. He could have easily just said “we’re gonna sit this one out”.

            Besides, German politicians are as craven as America’s and will say whatever their handlers tell them to say in hopes of getting reelected.

      2. Oh for Pete’s sake. He was finishing daddy’s war.

        1. Yes, exactly. Saddam never met the terms of surrender of that war. We were, in consequence, technically still at war with him. Part of any non-cosmetic strategy to undermine terrorism had to be re-establishing the idea that annoying us had serious consequences. Therefore Saddam represented old business that absolutely had to be dealt with.

          Frankly, saying “He was finishing daddy’s war.” with its implied sneer, strikes me as ostentatiously obtuse.

      3. I personally believe Bush had an unstated goal in Iraq. I think, he thought if he could set up a functioning democracy in the middle east that it would flourish and spread throughout the region.

        I think it was a combination of that and another strategic decision:

        To bait Islamic terrorists into fighting the US in a place where our fire power advantage could be decisive.

        He couldn’t broadcast that as a policy because it depended on the terrorists taking the bait.

        1. Precisely. We fought two wars in Iraq: the first was done in 3 weeks, the second against al Qaeda took 5 years.

      4. Once Saddam Hussein was executed by Iraqis at the end of 2006, things started to get better pretty quickly from then on.

        There are many days when I think that Iraq would have gotten better a lot more quickly, perhaps at the expense of the long-term, if we had simply shot Saddam Hussein in the head when we pulled him from his spider-hole at the end of 2003.

    3. Well to start with, Iraq didn’t attack us or harbor the organization supporting the guys who did.

      1. You’re wrong about that, actually. I don’t have access to my database of urls right now, but there were multiple top al Qaeda types that were harbored in Iraq between 2001 and 2003.

        Just because CNN and the rest didn’t report it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

  8. This is why we need PBS, ch 286

    Approximately 100 million Americans still don’t have broadband access. A disproportionate number are people of color, lower income or with less education.

    How can we call ourselves a civilized nation when people of color are forced to access internet voyeur porn on a dialup connection?

    Oh, the HUMANITY!

    1. I thought most “people of color” lived in urban areas. What city in America doesn’t have a reasonably-priced WiFi system? That claim is utter bullshit and they know it. Access=access. If someone can’t get a hardwired service, there are alternatives that are damn near as fast.

      1. Wasn’t the narrative a few years back that rural people didn’t have access to broadband and this was: corporate oppression of hardworking okies/the reason rural teabaggers were so stoopid?

        1. Both narratives run simultaneously. They just spin the wheel and see if it comes up black or red.

          Black=play the “minorities don’t have access because whitey wants to keep em down”

          Red=play the “dumb, white hicks vote Team Red because they don’t have broadband and thereby aren’t enlightened”

          Green=play the “government has brought access to x number of new people in the last 4 years”

          1. “government has brought access to x number of new people in the last 4 years”

            Government government claiming to have created something always reminds me of this.

    2. FTA:

      And there’s increasing concern over the way broadband is being used among different groups, whether spending more time on social networks, streaming television programs and movies and playing games is at the expense of educational advancement, managing finances and pursuing job opportunities.

      Wait, I thought that not having broadband was the bad thing? Jesus.

    3. I sometimes listen to NPR (to remind myself of why it’s OK to call it “Pravda”) and caught part of this. “We need socialized internet! Some female, minority college student has to do her homework at the library because it’s the only place she can get free internet access!”

      Um, she has free access to the internet already, but has to suffer the indignity of leaving her house to take advantage of it. BFD.

  9. I think it was someone open-carrying (common in Arizona) who accidentally walked on campus in a peaceful manner then left

    Are you crazy? Any armed person other than a policeman on a college campus could only be there for the sole purpose of murdering anyone and everyone he comes in contact with, with his special child-seeking-and-dismembering bullets which can be sprayed at an unimaginably rapid rate of fire and always find their targets.

  10. But that might mean someone would assassinate Bin Laden rather than bring him to justice!

    Don’t tell anybody, but under those conditions, the assassins would still have had to produce him (whole or in part) in order to collect the bounty.

    As opposed to just saying, “Pfffft! We killed the shit out of that motherfucker, but we dumped him in the ocean because it was too much trouble to lug his carcass all the way to Washington. But we totally did it, so pay up, Sucker!”

    1. Not only that, but we’d have the added bonus of him not getting buried within 24 hours, thus he wouldn’t get all those virgins in heaven.

      It would be win all the way around.

    2. “As opposed to just saying, “Pfffft! We killed the shit out of that motherfucker, but we dumped him in the ocean…”

      I’m really surprised this hasn’t started a whole new conspiracy group (the ‘deathers’?) who claim that it either didn’t happen at all, or they offed the wrong rug-pilot.

      1. Oh, they’re out there.

        Google “Did we really k” and see what autofills.

      2. Dang sevo you don’t have much faith in Alex Jones, do you?

        And, yes “deathers” is a real term.

        1. I’m not watching that, but a better question is “What is Thom Hartmann smoking?”

        2. Damn it! Satire is no longer possible! Somebody makes it real before the first laugh.

        3. Both people in this video are idiots. Also, Thom Hartman has to be the least charismatic human being to ever have a television show.

          1. I’m sorry, what was that?

            /Craig Kilborne

  11. More on the Digital Divide:

    KAREN KORNBLUH, Former FCC Official: Well, Hari, this is such a technical issue, it’s a good idea to step back and remember why we care.

    And the reason we care is because the Internet has become the innovation platform. It’s where we all come together to collaborate and innovate. And we all know we need more growth. If we don’t have equal access, then we can’t have equal access to jobs and growth.

    Seriously, how is it possible for these people to function on any sort of day to day basis with their heads so far up their own asses?

    1. Jesus, these quotes could be taken directly from Atlas Shrugged.

      1. Now, now. If they were taken from Atlas Shrugged, they’d be longer than the character limit. Otherwise, you’re spot-on.

    2. KAREN KORNBLUH, Former FCC Official: Well, Hari, this is such a technical issue, it’s a good idea to step back and remember why we care.

      This alone made me start laughing. Are people like this for real?

      1. Are people like this for real?

        If you’re not sure, take a look at your pay stub.

  12. Here are the money-quotes:

    “In October 2003, Rumsfeld told a press conference about President Bush’s request for $21 billion for Iraq and Afghan reconstruction that “the $20 billion the president requested is not intended to cover all of Iraq’s needs. The bulk of the funds for Iraq’s reconstruction will come from Iraqis — from oil revenues, recovered assets, international trade, direct foreign investment, as well as some contributions we’ve already received and hope to receive from the international community.”

    The war will pay for itself!

    “In March 2003, Mr. Wolfowitz told Congress that “we’re really dealing with a country that could finance its own reconstruction.”

    How many times do we have to say it? The war will pay for itself!

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World…..nd-results

    1. Shhh! PBP told us we’re not supposed to link this back to Bush. Don’t you know that reason serves as rear vanguard for an administration that left office four years ago?

      1. Was Wolfowitz ever right about anything?!

  13. What they are trying not to say is that these people cannot afford WiFi and we need to force others to pay for it for them.

    And the reason we care is because the Internet has become the innovation platform…

    No, Ms Kornbluh. I do NOT care.

    1. She cares so much that she wants the government to put a gun to your head and pay for it.

      If she really cared, she’d start a foundation and personally pay the internet bills of some poor, black family in Detroit.

      1. It’s just specialization of labor applied to politics. She specializes in ferreting out social injustices, and the rest of us specialize in forking over tax dollars to fund the solutions.

        1. Does she not understand that at some point the rest of us will run out of money before we run out of ammo? When that happens, she better hope the Army are still being fed well.

          What am I saying? Her plan is making North Korea run like a Swiss fucking watch.

  14. Just as a nit pick, I’m pretty sure whether we’re paying for direct benefits or the like, we’re paying in that *every* war since the Civil War has gone on the cuff, and we’ve never since then haven’t had national debt.

    1. “The stupidest woman in the House”
      Nope. Pelosi has retired that chair.

    2. I guessed it prior to clicking.

      Yep. Pig.

    3. And these people will never admit why DeeCee is so fucking expensive.

      Take away the high paid bureaucrats, the ability of the government to influence big business along with the lobbying it invites, and a congress critters ability to make a ton of dough through politically influenced “investments” and DeeCee would have a cost of living comparable to pittsburgh.

      Why the fuck is a congressional aide making “$60,000-$100,000” a year? That role should be filled with college kids and recent grads on a small living stipend basis.

      The free market corollary to Buffet’s secretary rule is that a congressional secretary aide shouldn’t make more than a CEO’s secretary.

      1. Those aides make $60-160k a year. That’s what a CEO of a mid-sized company makes. And these people are aides, not even legislators.

        I propose them each being limited to on paid assistant each and a paid secretary so the constituents can call in and schedule meetings/voice their opinions to a live person during work hours. If they want staffs beyond that, they can pay them out of their own pocket.

        1. Dang, there’s a lotta scratch to be had in the coercion game, ain’t there?

          This shit’s gonna give me aneurysm one day.

          Damn.

          1. Just got back from spending the week with friends in the Big City. The first day there fresh off my flight one of their father-in-laws died of an aneurysm. The Old Fart looked very peaceful. Either he didn’t suffer or was pleased to go. There probably are more unpleasant ways to leave.

            William was Medical Corpsman, Korean War.

            R.I.P., Sir.

            1. Well…how did the rest of the week go?

  15. OT: Broken clocks, right time: Feinstein kicks back at Salazar:
    “Feinstein […] co-sponsoring an amendment to a budget resolution that would help the shellfish operation remain open.”
    That guy is *MAKING MONEY* in a national park! We cannot have that!
    http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/20…..farm-fray/

  16. This is a Washington Times article in its entirety, so no link:

    A popular course with a pro-capitalism slant has been cut from Stanford University course listings.

    Called “Moral Foundations of Capitalism,” the class received rave reviews.

    “This is one of the most fantastic courses that I have taken at Stanford,” said one student, in a written review of the class, as reported by The Daily Caller.

    “Definitely offer this course again,” wrote another student.

    Stanford Center for Ethics in Society officials, who sponsored the class, said they’d rather invest money somewhere else, The Daily Caller reports. That “somewhere” includes a course that offers a seeming opposite view of the free market.

    The Center of Ethics is still sponsoring its class, the “Moral Limits of the Market.”

    Capitalists are evil. Markets are not fair. Therefor, market economies are by definition unethical.

    QED

    1. Thanks for the post. Fell asleep while opening the link last night.

      So “they’d rather invest money somewhere else” was the only reason they gave for cutting the “popular” course?

    2. Stanford used to be a great school. Then GWB had to go and get elected President and drag Condi Rice away.

      1. Don’t hear much about her, anymore. She must have been under a lot of pressure under GWB. She always seemed a little flustered and self-conscious whenever speaking in public.

        1. You probably don’t hear about her much anymore because she’s now a member at Augusta National. And if she’s smart, she spends every waking moment there playing the best course in the world.

  17. But, but, but, Nation Building is so much fun. It’s like Bowling: We knock’em down, we stand’em back up!

  18. I propose them each being limited to on paid assistant each and a paid secretary so the constituents can call in and schedule meetings/voice their opinions to a live person during work hours. If they want staffs beyond that, they can pay them out of their own pocket.

    Davis-Bacon “prevailing wage”, Baby!

  19. Let’s face it, the health of the US economy is dependent on Pentagon spending – with only 5% of the world’s population, we account for 40% of the world’s military spending. Only 3.5% of us travel abroad each year, yet we impose our notion of “freedom” on the rest of the world, at gunpoint, in places most of us couldn’t even find on a map! The Orlando Bisegna Index ranks us as the 11th most crisis-hit country of the 25 G20 countries and other Euro countries included in the index. But if it weren’t for our endless military campaigns against fictional enemies and the Fed artificially inflating our economy by buying up all the government’s bonds as quickly as they can be printed, we’d be much much further down the list!!!

    1. Let’s face it, the health of the US economy is dependent on Pentagon spending…

      I say bullocks to that mate. /english

      To argue that taking taxpayers’ money through lost savings via inflation and taxation, then blowing it up in the sandbox is a better allocation of resources then letting people keep their money would need some substantial evidence for me to accept. Not that I’d agree with it on utilitarian principle, but I don’t even think our level of military spending has that benefit.

    2. “Let’s face it, the health of the US economy is dependent on Pentagon spending.”

      Can you imagine if that were true? We could solve all of our economic problems with a draft!

      Seriously, a lot of people really, REALLY don’t understand creative destruction.

      People in Eastern Europe found themselves unemployed because the wall came down–and within a relatively short period of time thereafter, the standard of living in Eastern Europe started increasing dramatically.

      If the short term strength of the U.S. economy depends on Pentagon spending, then if you care at all about Americans and their long term standard of living, we better slash the Pentagon’s budget really quick!

      All those unproductive, overpaid people are a cancer–and no one should ever confuse the growing size of a tumor with the “health of the US. economy”.

  20. https://reason.com/24-7/2013/03…..hanghai-ri

    At first, I was like 🙂

    But then I was like 🙁

    1. I actually thought, “Oh, that headline’s gonna make sloopy’s day.”

      1. Yeah, talk about misleading. The Guardian needs to hire some of the headline writers from The Sun or The Daily Fail.

        1. LOCALS BOAR-ED OF SHANGHAI RIVER MESS: CLEANUP CREW SAYS “THAT’S ALL FOLKS!”

          1. Th-th-th-that’s p-p-pretty g-good.

    2. The Chinese government is ramping up its meat inspections so that their arcane law that says animals have to be alive when you sell them to the slaughterhouses actually has to be followed, even for companies where the executives are bros of the party apparatchiks.

      As in, a significant portion of the pork sold in China had died in cages, often from diseases, but got butchered anyway.

      So many that the standard means of covert pig corpse disposal was overwhelmed and they took to dumping them.

      In other words, its all CORPORATE GREED.

      1. How many chinese people died from tainted pork before this? A quick google search came up with a nice round number of 0.

        1. I doubt that’s the whole story, but I’ll bet it’s not as bad as it would be in the US if the same thing happened. People expect it and adapt. Adulterated food is a given in China to one degree or another.

          Obviously this is the cost of wild west laissez-faire capitalism. If only the Chinese had had the sense to establish some kind of common sense regulation of the food industry.

    1. Warty ain’t going to lie, he blew a nut in the fish.

    2. Where did you think Warty came from?

    3. Yep, they’re common here along Florida’s gulf coast, and their teeth look freakishly exactly like human teeth. Which is weird, because they use their teeth for much rougher things than we do, like eating barnacles directly off pilings. Actually the pinfish, a related fish, has similar teeth, too, though it’s a much smaller. I can also confirm that Sheepshead are delicious.

  21. “Some 45 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have applied for disability benefits.”

    What percentage of veterans actually participate in something like combat.

    The thing I love most about our military is that it’s a volunteer force–at least the everybody in it volunteered at some point or other. And I understand that you have to offer people stuff they really want in order to get ’em to sign up for military service, but…

    There’s a difference between the guys who go out and patrol and have to deal with IEDs and getting shot at–and the guys that don’t, right? And what percentage of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were really in that situation?

    I’d really like to understand that number better. Because that 45% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans number seems kinda high.

    1. I should add that I got no problem whatsoever paying for American veterans who are disabled in any way because of their military service…

      It’s just that I’ve heard in the past that the percentage of veterans who participate in patrols and combat operations is…less than 45%. …and I’d really appreciate it if somebody who knows more about this than I do could…explain it a little better.

      1. Everyone who was in the military can claim disability benefits when they leave. Has nothing to do with combat specifically. Injuries that occurred while on active duty are covered. If you’ve got fucked up knees from jumping out of airplanes or a bad back from pulling Gs you claim it (it must be in your medical records somewhere). When you leave they send you to a doc for an evaluation where the doc rates the injury. If it’s minor, they note it (in case it gets worse later in life) but you get no money for it. If it’s more serious they will rate it higher and they start paying you for it. The more disabled the more money, up to like $2500/month ish max for 100% disability. The VA will pay for medical treatment relating to those conditions for the rest of your life.

        Just because it’s claimed doesn’t mean they are getting paid anything.

      2. I should add that I got no problem whatsoever paying for American veterans who are disabled in any way because of their military service…

        Then you should set up a foundation and do so. As far as I’m concerned, they volunteered, so they can get insurance like the rest of us. Can’t get insured because your job is hazardous? Then you have a decision to make on whether or not to join up.

        It may sound callous, but I don’t see why I should pay for the medical care of another person who got injured in an undeclared war fought predominately against people that never did or never could do so much as find America on a map, let alone threaten our security.

        I would feel different in a declared war against a defined enemy or for soldiers that were enslaved drafted into service.

        1. Respectfully Sloop, do you choose to take a job (volunteer for it) based upon the compensation package the company offers you? Do you weigh the pluses and minuses decide if it’s worth it and then sign a contract binding both parties to it?

          And what happens to the company who offers too little? You reject that offer right?

          So, in trading value for value, and the potential exists that your end might be your very existence, what do you think the compensation package needs to be to get folks to take that job?

          1. “So, in trading value for value, and the potential exists that your end might be your very existence, what do you think the compensation package needs to be to get folks to take that job?”

            Francisco, the compensation package needs to be the market-clearing price for that occupation. It is obvious that the offering for military service is more than sufficient, since there is no lack of applicants.
            Admittedly, this might be a result of the minimum wage laws drying up other possible employment, but we all have do deal with the government screw-ups.

          2. Hey, it might make that compensation being a lot higher to get people to take that job. And because so few would be willing to do so, it might make our government a lot less likely to get into nation-building a half a world away.

            I have the utmost respect for most of our military. But that doesn’t mean I should be forced to underwrite the medical care of people that are voluntarily entering into a dangerous situation.

            I feel the same about the CIA, ATF, CBP, FBI and any other alphabet soup department’s armed brigades.

            1. …I don’t see why I should pay for the medical care of another person who got injured in an undeclared war fought predominately against people that never did or never could do so much as find America on a map, let alone threaten our security.

              AND…

              You do understand that these “volunteers” do not have a say in the politics of the conflict, right? You sign a contract that says when the government says go, you go. A pilot signs a contract for a 10 year commitment for his training. If the country goes to war in that time frame, you don’t get a say in the matter. You cannot just quit based upon your personal feelings about how the war’s being run. AND they have the ability to stop-loss you if there happens to be a shortage in your particular area of expertise. Short F-16 pilots? Your commitment is up? Tough shit, you’re not going anywhere. And it happens.

              the compensation package needs to be the market-clearing price for that occupation.

              Agree. As with ALL hiring of labor.

              I don’t agree with your assertion that “there is no lack of applicants”. That depends. It ebbs and flows WRT countless external factors. e.g. if the economy is up you have a hard time keeping folks, when it’s down not so much. The problem is that Congress dictates pay and benefits to a one size fits all package instead of the services negotiating with individuals to fill specific needs.

              1. I understand all of that, FdA. But I also understand that those enticements and sweetheart compensation packages are all the government has that allows them to enter into offensive wars, play policeman to the world and attack whoever talks shit about us around the world.

                I just believe that if we limited our military forces to the numbers that would be willing to volunteer without all of the sweet-ass bennies, our force might just be small enough that it would act in a defensive manner.

                Again, I’m fine covering people’s injuries as part of a declared war or people that were drafted into service. Otherwise, no. (As an added bonus, we would be in far fewer conflicts since a declaration of war wouldn’t be as easy as the existing no-holds-barred policy.

                1. Interesting notion, but I’m not sure I agree with your premise.

                  But I also understand that those enticements and sweetheart compensation packages are all the government has that allows them to enter into offensive wars

                  While I agree undeclared, preemptive wars are egregious, the military needs to be prepared to engage in a defensive war at all times. When you legitimately need the military, you need it immediately. And that which can be used for defense can also be used preemptively.

                  It’s a failing of the government to use them properly and of at least 50% of the voters who elect such manner of unprincipled individuals to office.

                  1. While I agree undeclared, preemptive wars are egregious, the military needs to be prepared to engage in a defensive war at all times.

                    I’m not sure I totally agree with this…especially when that “defensive” war occurs halfway around the world.

                    Were we ready for a war when the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor? Nope. And we kicked the shit out of them pretty much from the word go because we had the technology and capability to move to a war footing pretty quickly. And we could do the same now with tech far superior to any other nation in the world and a populus ready to sign up en masse were we to be attacked and declare war. (That’s why I’m OK with paying all of those bennies in a declared war.)

                    I understand your position but I just disagree a little with you. I say, let the war come and then we can react and compensate people well for signing up. This massive standing Army and huge reserve corps, not to mention the incredible amount of civilian employees we have does nothing but give incentive to our political leaders to swing their dicks (read: American soldiers lives) around without a care in the world. And they can just make us pay for it by waving the bloody shirt.

                    1. We could definitely do it more efficiently by utilizing the Guard and Reserve but it’s a training issue. It takes 2 years to make a full up fighter/bomber pilot. And another 5 to get an experienced one. I’m assuming training tank operators, sub and ship drivers… require similar training.

                      The equipment definitely needs to be in place ahead of time as it’s not feasible to gin up manufacturing that quickly.

                      Once initial training is complete, you could probably keep them current using the Guard/Reserve without having a big full time active duty force, thereby saving on payroll/full time benefits…

                    2. You’re probably right. Tech has created a longer training cycle to get soldiers up to speed than we had in the early 40’s.

                      It’s certainly a topic where there’s a broad range of opinions from a libertarian (AnCap to Minarchist) perspective.

                    3. I do see your point, however…

                      This station is now the ultimate power in the universe! I suggest we use it.

                      /John McCain

                    4. [movie trailer voice]: “In a world where you don’t know who your enemies are. Everyone is your enemy.

                      John McCain stars as General Tarkin in Death Star: mission to Alderaan. Rated PG-13.”

                    5. Hey, have you heard from doc lately? He hasn’t been on in ages?

                    6. Not in a couple of weeks. He’s pretty wrapped up in work and is settling in at home. I hope to speak to him again in about a week after our next appointment.

                    7. I heard he was kidnapped by Eastern European gangsters and sold to a Brazilian brothel owner. Supposedly he’s been forced into performing backroom coathanger abortions for the whores in exchange for food and lodging. He got word out a few weeks ago. All his message said was, “It’s better than working under Obamacare, lol. Help.”

                    8. Of course one could decide to interpret the Second Amendment as applying to fighter jets and battleships, and allow various citizens to form a militia-based military.

                      If nothing else, it would cause all the military-haters on the Left to have a cow, breach presentation.

                    9. Of course one could decide to interpret the Second Amendment as applying to fighter jets and battleships, and allow various citizens to form a militia-based military.

                      Since when did we have to be “allowed” to exercise our natural rights? Fuck. That. Shit.

        2. If there’s a list of things I don’t want the government spending my money on, using my money to bail out Wall Street or the UAW is up somewhere near the top, and way, way down the list at the bottom somewhere–if it’s on the list at all–is taking care of disabled veterans.

          There’s a world of things we can cut before we get anywhere near cutting support of legitimately disabled veterans.

          1. I never said it was at the top of my list for things to cut, Ken. I just said I don’t think I should be footing the bill for the medical care and/or insurance for somebody that volunteered to go in harm’s way.

            I guess personal responsibility ends when someone enlists.

            And before anybody makes the claim that it’s a negotiated part of the compensation, tell me any other entity that negotiates compensation with it’s employees and then takes the money to pay them by force from a third party.

            1. You don’t expect your employer (or his insurance) to cover you if you get hurt on the job?

              1. No, I don’t. My employer offers me insurance and I take it, but I do by choice and I pay part of the premiums. It’s part of my compensation and weighed on the decision of whether or not to take the job.

                Oh, and my employer does not “cover me” by extracting money from a third party under penalty of imprisonment. So there’s a big fucking difference.

                1. If people knew that that the taxpayers weren’t going to take care of them if they should become disabled as a result of their military service, what do you think that would do to their willingness to volunteer?

                  1. If people knew that that the taxpayers weren’t going to take care of them if they should become disabled as a result of their military service, what do you think that would do to their willingness to volunteer?

                    Hopefully it would push it down so much that we wouldn’t have enough people in the military to fight two real wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), a proxy war (S Korea) and do the dirty work of countless other nations and play bully to everybody in the world that doesn’t like us.

                    1. I think it’s more likely that the majority of Americans, who are too old or completely unfit for military service, would institute a draft.

                      You know, because (let me be clear) we all have to make sacrifices for the common good?

                      In a free market, you have to pay what the market demands to get the number and quality of employees you need. I suspect that qualifying for disability is part of the calculation on the recruitment side. If people knew that if they became disabled as a result of their service, they’d be left to fend for themselves? I doubt enough people would join willingly to present a sufficient deterrent to our enemies.

                      This is why I’m not an anarchist. I think the government has a legitimate role to play in protecting our rights. I think protecting our rights from foreign threats by way of a military is one of the three legitimate functions of government, and I think we have to pay what the market demands to get people to “serve” willingly. And I guess I see taking care of disabled veterans as part of that recruitment package.

                    2. You use the term “free market” and pretend the military is part of it. There ain’t no other market in the wrld where Party A (US Govt) can pay Party B (Soldier) whatever they agree to and extract that amount from Party C (taxpayers) under threat of imprisonment.

                      I’ll repeat: shrink the military drastically and offer nice incentives if, and only if, we are attacked and declare war on the nation that attacked us. Other than that, keep your hands out of my fucking pockets.

                      But I respect your opinion quite a bit and shared your feelings on it for most of my life. I just think that way of thinking ends up costing more American lives because politicians feel more cavalier sending people in harms way if there’s an endless supply of well-paid volunteers willing to sign up.

    2. The majority of veterans after a 20 year career (and many who don’t make it that far) get out with a “disability rating” for permanent physical impairment that isn’t related to combat wounds. Probably the most common is hearing loss (I always wonder how many play deaf on the last hearing test), but knee, ankle, and back injuries happen just from that many years running and carrying a lot of weight on ruck marches.

      Sleep apnea(!) gets you over a 50% rating, I think, and I have no idea how that’s supposed to be related to military service.

      1. It sounds like a system that might invite abuse, but I can see how people might be reluctant to fix it for fear that trying to might hurt legitimately disabled veterans.

        Even in my ice cold, greedy, libertarian, free market capitalist, skirt chasin’ heart, there’s a soft spot for people who volunteered for military service. Honestly, I don’t think the fact that we don’t have a draft has anything to do with any legal principle or anything else but–the willingness of our military service members to volunteer.

        God bless every one of ’em. If taxpayers don’t want to pay the cost of taking care of our veterans when they come back, then there’s an easy way to avoid that–don’t send ’em to war in the first place unless it’s a war of self-defense.

        I happen to think Afghanistan was a war of self-defense, by the way, but this post was about Iraq, and despite the billing…

        http://usatoday30.usatoday.com…..iraq_x.htm

        Iraq wasn’t a war of self-defense. It just wasn’t.

        1. That’s pretty much my reason as well. When people volunteer for war, there’s trust that we’ll send them for the reason we HAVE a military: national defense. To do otherwise is to violate the reason why people join the military.

          People volunteer for military services, but they don’t usually volunteer for specific wars, they trust that when we DO send them, that we’re sending them to defend us and our rights. But most of the time that’s not why we go to war.

        2. Afghanistan was about self defense right up to the point where we decided the Taliban was the enemy instead of AQ. That’s where it became a quagmire.

          You are absolutely correct about Iraq. See my theory above for why we went there.

          1. We removed the Taliban from power pretty much immediately. That wasnt the problem.

            Not coming home at that point was the problem.

            If the Afghanis put the Taliban back in power, we could have repeated. Eventually, they would have learned.

      2. I was in Iraq, where I lost a good deal of my hearing from things going boom. I also have constant back, knee and ankle pain, all easily tied to my combat service. Beyond that, I have stomach issues believed to be linked to my time over there as Squadron Hazmat NCO.

        I have a rating of 0% for my knees, ankles and stomach. They simply left my back and hearing off or my decision entirely.

        There may in fact be a lot of people gaming the system, but there are plenty of us not getting the things promised to us in our original contracts because surprise! the entity that promises more than it can deliver to more people than it can deliver them to is likely to be too large to adequately deliver those promises efficiently in the first place.

        And whether you agree with the terms or not, whether you agree with the war or not, I signed a contract, and I put my ass on the line over and over and over again to fulfill my side of the contract. If anyone has a problem with that, take it up with the people offering the contracts, not the people signing them.

  22. Pet peeve about first word in the post title: referring to the United States as “we.”

    1. I think he was referring to the taxpayers.

  23. Yeah – paying for this 100 years from now? Don’t think so – I plan on being dead.

    If YOU wanna go on living to pay for this, be my guest.

    Back to SXonSPEED!

    1. Aaaaaaand fucking Villopoto wins AGAIN. Made that race his bitch.

      Ain’t nobody got time for that!

  24. Yep, more than likely. Look how long ago slavery ened yet the black folk still eem to think the white man owes them something all these years later.

    http://www.Anon-Today.tk

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